With a solemn memorial service and Holy Mass held on Tuesday, January 12, in front of the Three Faculties Building main entrance on Campus, the University of Split said goodbye to its students Marija Pavković, Mirela Rezo and Stipe Romić, whose lives ended in an incomprehensible tragedy in Tribistovo, near Posušje on New Year's Eve.
- On this sad occasion, together with University of Split students, we also remember the remaining five students from the University of Mostar who also died with them: Žana Pavković, Stipe Pavković, Ivan Miličević, Stjepan Jukić and Mia Soldo. In pain and sorrow, but with faith in eternal life, we express our deep condolences to families of students whose lives and dreams have regrettably been cut short prematurely. They studied, lived with us and left us too soon. So, saying goodbye to them publicly it is the right and honourable thing to do - said Don Mihael Prović PhD, student chaplain and youth commissioner.
Rector of the University of Split, prof. Dragan Ljutić PhD, expressed his condolences to parents, families and friends of the tragically deceased youths who came to our city in pursuit of knowledge. – They were looking forward to a wonderful opportunity of life, growth, development and progress. That is why we are now grieving for young lives, unfulfilled possibilities. We will never forget them - said Rector Ljutić.
- We lost eight young lives at the beginning of their journeys, eight children who just began dreaming their dreams. As scientists, we are aware that such tragedies happen almost every day all over the world, that they are a combination of unfortunate circumstances. As believers, we take comfort in the faith that all eight of them are now in a more beautiful and better place, face to face with their Creator. But as humans we have the right to mourn, right to cry and ask why did this have to happen. Cicero said in one of his sayings, "Even a short life is long enough for an honest and honourable life." Exactly this applies to our eight students. Their friends said goodbye to them with touching gentle thoughts, and the words they used most often were ‘good, honest, uncorrupted, the pride of their families and their region’. In times like these it is hard to say more than that, but I would just like to add that all eight are part of our wider academic community, the Universities of Mostar and Split. Among them was Mirela Rezo, a student of the Faculty of Science. She was a first year undergraduate student of Biology and her friends and colleagues, also first year students of Biology, wrote wonderful sentences and gentle thoughts about her, and I will read just one of those: “An extraordinary, faithful friend, someone with true human values, an eternal optimist with a beautiful smile that always gives hope ”. These eight of our stars in the sky shone with a beautiful light, illuminating this country, enriching us all, and then they crossed over-were transferred in another reality. We cannot say that they disappeared, they will be here, in our thoughts, prayers and hearts - said prof. Nikola Koceić-Bilan PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Science.
- It is hard, actually impossible, to find words that could give any meaning to this unprecedented tragedy or that would provide even the slightest grain of comfort to families and all those who knew and loved them. The news of their deaths shook us all tremendously, on the one hand because in them we saw our own children, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and on the other hand because it reminded us once again how fragile life really is. I personally cannot tell you much about Marija and Stipe, because in the short time they spent studying at our Faculty, I did not have the opportunity to get to know them better. However, I can infer that they were young people not afraid to tackle life's challenges as they decided to embark on an adventure of studying away from home and their loved ones in these difficult conditions we have been living in for the past year. Enrolling FESB was the first choice for both of them and we would have liked to been able to provide them help and support in realizing their life dreams which, by a cruel game of fate, they will never get a chance to do - said prof. Srđan Podrug PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture.
Marijan Bašić, head of the dormitories, expressed his condolences on behalf of the Student Center.
- At the beginning of their student life and getting to know all its beauties, everything stopped unjustly. Many questions arise in all our heads, why them? But there is no right answer. There is not one today, nor will there be tomorrow. All that remains for us is to fold our hands in sincere prayer and say a prayer for their families, so that God would help them endure this suffering. Let us all be part of a family praying together with their loved ones, inconsolable parents, brothers and sisters. Dear students, friends of our Stipe, Marina and Mirela, I believe that each of us has a memory and an event to remember them by. That will never fade away. They are now in a better place to watch over all of us. So let us be thankful for being a part of their lives. Let them be our angels, and we should not hesitate to invoke them. Finally, we should all be better people, respect our parents, brothers, sisters, colleagues and professors - said Bašić.
Mateo Marušić, President of the University of Split’s Student Union, also said goodbye to his colleagues.
- When we talk of New Year’s, we think of resolutions, efforts to be better, wishes to grow and progress. This enormous tragedy struck us on New Year's, our Marija, Mirela and Stipe, together with five other youths, did not get to realize their resolutions, their opportunities and dreams. But they remain an eternal example for us to live and breathe in love, to be a better person every day than we were the day before. Three angels from our University who shared our worries, joys and lecture halls, whose steps walked the Campus, are now walking the heavens. God had a different plan for our colleagues, as well as for the University of Mostar students who also passed away: Stjepan, Žana, Stipe, Ivan and Mija, whom we now mention in our prayers. I hope they are now looking down on us with smiles on their faces and in the grace of His presence. Pain has a power that rectifies, makes us better, makes us aware when we are growing in goodness and being joyful and mild to one another - concluded Marušić.